Carla Esparza Returns At UFC 197 Vs. Julianna Lima

Former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza will compete for the first time since losing the title next month, replacing Jessica Aguilar vs. Julianna Lima at UFC 197.

ESPN first reported the change, which they confirmed with UFC officials. The bout will be part of the April 23 event from Las Vegas.

Esparza (10-3) was the first-ever 115-pound champion, winning the title with a tournament victory over Rose Namajunas. However, in her first defense, she was knocked out at the hands of Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The former Invicta FC champion spent the rest of 2015 on the sidelines following shoulder surgery.

Lima (8-2) has won two of three inside the Octagon, besting Nina Asnaroff and Ericka Almeida. Her lone loss came via decision to Jedrzejczyk.